Steve Valentino led the PFL in total offense. and led the league QB's in rushing
The University of Dayton honored the 2009 Flyer football team today at its annual Football Awards Banquet. The banquet, presented by the UD Flyers Club, was at the Kennedy Union Ballroom on campus.
Dayton finished 9-2 overall and 7-1 in the Pioneer Football League this season, tying Butler for first place in the PFL. It was UD's 10th PFL championship (including ties) in the 17-year history of the PFL. The rest of the league has 12 titles combined. It was also the 23rd time in school history UD has had at least nine wins in a season.
Senior quarterback Steve Valentino (Solon, OH) was named the recipient of the White-Allen Most Valuable Player Trophy. The 2009 PFL Offensive Player of the Year and a team co-captain, Valentino came into the season with a good chance to end up as UD's MVP, but not as the team's quarterback.
A First Team All-PFL wide receiver last year, he became Dayton's starting quarterback in the season's second week due to injuries. He promptly led the Flyers to seven consecutive victories and finished the regular season with a league-best 281.6 yards total offense and led all quarterbacks in rushing, averaging 65.6 yards per game to rank fourth among the league's rushers. Valentino also ranked second among the league's quarterbacks in yardage (216.0 ypg) and pass efficiency rating (139.8).
He is the first position player in PFL history to be named first-team all-league at two different positions.
The White Allen Most Valuable Player Trophy is sponsored by Tim White and White Allen Auto Group, Inc. The award, selected by members of the team, has been awarded annually since 1953. White Allen now sponsors the MVP award for UD's men's and women's basketball, football and volleyball teams.
Another team captain, senior defensive tackle Sean Heenan (St. Joseph, MI) was a repeat winner of the Emil Karas Memorial Award. The Karas Award is for the most inspirational leadership as chosen by his teammates. A three-year starter, Heenan is just the second two-time Karas winner in school history. Heenan missed four games with a knee injury in 2009, but was still credited with 18 solo tackles, 24 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, three QB hurries, two passes batted down and a sack.
Senior offensive guard Tyler Friedrich (Powell, OH) was the only multiple award winner this season. He had already been named the 2009 recipient of the Lt. Andy Zulli Award at halftime of UD's final home game against Marist. The award, one of the most prestigious in the program, is for sportsmanship, character, and leadership. Friedrich was also presented the Stan Kurdziel Memorial Trophy. The Kurdziel Trophy goes to the team's top lineman. In his first full season as a starter, Friedrich was named First Team All-Pioneer Football League in 2009. He is a two-time member of PFL Academic Honor Roll.
James Vercammen (Bloomfield Hills, MI), was named the recipient of the Chief Toscani Hitter Award. Playing the hybrid linebacker/safety position known as "Flyer" in the Dayton defensive scheme, Vercammen had the kind of season that in most years would have earned him Pioneer Football Player of the Year honors. The best player on the best defense in the PFL, Vercammen led the league and was third nationally in tackles (12.2 per game).
The Flyer senior averaged more than two tackles per game better than anyone else in the conference, and had 64 more total hits than anyone else on the team. He had 17.0 tackles in the backfield (1st on the team and 2nd in the PFL), six sacks (2nd on the team, ninth in the PFL) and broke up three passes.
Senior safety Kevin Burns (Libertyville, IL) was this season's winner of the A.J. Cohen Flyer of the Year. His positive attitude every day and "team-first" approach epitomizes the award, which is in memory of Cohen a former Flyer wide receiver. A three-year letterwinner and two-year starter, Burns was third on the team in tackles (63) with four pass breakups and an interception. He also had one of UD's two blocked punts this season.
The Sheriff "Beno" Keiter Award, which goes to the senior for the most outstanding contribution to the program over his college career, went to defensive tackle Kalen Hemmelgarn (St. Henry, OH). He is the first two-time winner of the award. A redshirt senior who returned for his final season eligibility while attending graduate school, Hemmelgarn is a four-year letterwinner and three-time All-Pioneer Football League performer. Hemmelgarn also was also a three-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection.
Senior linebacker Joe Ries (Cincinnati, OH) was the winner of the John L. Macbeth Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award. Ries is a Sport Management major at UD, and is a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection. He is also a two-time First Team All-PFL choice. The Macbeth Award goes annual to the UD junior or senior football player who has the highest cumulative grade point average over at least four semesters.
This season's Most Improved Player Award went to redshirt freshman running back Brian Mack (Harrison City, PA). Mack steadily moved up the depth chart to finish second on the team in rushing (485 yards, four TD's) behind quarterback and MVP Steve Valentino.
Freshman tight end Jordan Boykin (Crawfordsville, IN) won the ROTC Cannonball Award, which goes to the team's top newcomer. Boykin made the travel squad and played in five games with one start in 2009.
Freshman tight end Ben Estey (Brighton, MI) was named the Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year. Freshman linebacker Joe Janasek (Solon, OH) was awarded the Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year award.
Along with honoring the individual award winners and the players receiving letters, UD also acknowledged the players who received conference and national awards.
UD placed 11 players on the All-PFL teams which were determined by a vote of the PFL's head coaches. Five were named to the first team. Valentino, Ries, Friedrich, Vercammen and defensive end Brandon Wingeier (Newark, OH) were all named to the first team.
UD players on the All-PFL Second Team were Hemmelgarn, senior cornerback Scott Horcher (Carpentersville, OH) and senior wide receiver Justin Watkins (Englewood, OH). Senior wideout JMichael Jonard (Galena, OH), senior linebacker Drew Fumagalli (Naperville, IL) and redshirt sophomore center Justin Griffis (Sidney, OH) were all named Honorable Mention All-PFL.
Wingeier was also named an ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-American for the second straight year. The senior Mechanical Engineering major is the 19th Academic All-American the Dayton football program has produced since the 2000 season. That's the most at any level of college football.
In the history of the Academic All-America program, UD football has had 49 Academic All-Americans. Among schools currently playing Division I football, only Nebraska (97), Penn State (56) and Notre Dame (53) have had more. UD has had at least one football player named an Academic All-American in 23 of the last 25 years. In all sports, Dayton has had at least one Academic All-American for 26 straight years.
UD placed eight Flyer football players on the 2009 University Division ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV Team, the most of any team in the country for the second straight year. The Dayton list included five first-team selections which tied with Fresno State and fellow Pioneer Football League member Marist for the most first-team selections of any Division I program.
Included in Dayton's first team selections were Wingeier, Heenan, Hemmelgarn, senior defensive back Matt Smyth (Highlands Ranch, CO) and sophomore safety Ben Welsh (Goodland, IN). Flyers named to the second team were Ries, senior cornerback Scott Horcher (Carpentersville, IL) and sophomore wide receiver Tyler Shutz (Mentor, OH).
Heenan was also a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation's Campbell Trophy, which is sometimes called the "Academic Heisman."
2009 UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON FOOTBALL AWARD WINNERS
White-Allen Most Valuable Player Steve Valentino
Chief Toscani Hitter James Vercammen
Sheriff "Beno" Keiter Award Kalen Hemmelgarn
Emil Karas Inspirational Leadership Sean Heenan
Stan Kurdziel Outstanding Lineman Tyler Friedrich
A.J. Cohen Flyer of the Year Kevin Burns
John L. Macbeth Scholar-Athlete Joe Ries
Most Improved Player Brian Mack
Lt. Andy Zulli Memorial Trophy Tyler Friedrich
ROTC Cannonball Award Jordan Boykin
Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year Ben Estey
Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year Joe Janasek